Atletico Madrid captain Gabi says his side’s motivation against Barcelona is to atone for their Madrid derby loss.
Atleti were the subjects of a similarly hyped build-up to a big game two weeks ago but proved a disappointment on that occasion, losing 2-0 to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. They are five points behind Barca going into Sunday’s top of the table action.
“[Coach Diego] Simeone has insisted we owe a debt from the Bernabeu,” said the midfielder in a Press conference today. "We did not play the game that we wanted to play or that we know we can play, so on Sunday we have to show a lot of attitude.
“We have to stand up to Barca because they are undoubtedly going to have a lot of the ball. We need to be much more accurate to try and hurt them.”
The 29-year-old then gave his opinion on Blaugrana star Lionel Messi.
“We have been talking about this for 10 years, how to stop Messi. It’s difficult, he’s the most dominating player in the world. Above all we need to support and help one another so that we don’t leave anyone one on one with him.”
Gabi insists Los Colcheneros won’t change their game plan, and refuses to accept a win would thrust them into title contention.
“We won’t change our dynamic, we’ll be competitive and aggressive in the best sense of the word, an intense team, one that does not give the ball away easily.
“To win would give us 40 points, and we’ve never had that many at this point. Of course it would be nice and a step forward but our goal is imply to be among the best, in the Champions League places.”